Wednesday, March 21 , 2018, 8:07 am | Light Rain Fog/Mist 54º


Women’s Economic Ventures Welcomes Seven New Board Members

Joining the nonprofit are Claudine Contreras, Brooke Tuason-Angel, Zdena Jiroutova, Zhena Muzyka, Kelly Marsh, Geoffrey Eich and Denny Cooper

Women’s Economic Ventures welcomes seven new board members: Claudine Contreras, Brooke Tuason-Angel, Zdena Jiroutova, Zhena Muzyka, Kelly Marsh, Geoffrey Eich and Denny Cooper.

Claudine Contreras

Contreras is vice president of Business Banking in the Santa Barbara area for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Business Banking provides strategic integrated financial solutions to companies with annual revenues of $5 million to $20 million and up to $50 million in major metropolitan markets.

Before joining the company nine years ago, she was with Santa Barbara Bank & Trust for more than 10 years in various roles, including branch manager for its Camino Real location. Contreras serves on the Santa Barbara/Ventura Market President Leadership Committee for Bank of America and enjoys volunteering time for Carpinteria High School athletic programs.

Contreras attended Santa Barbara High School and SBCC, and resides in Carpinteria with her husband and two children.

Brooke Tuason-Angel

Tuason-Angel was born and raised in Santa Barbara. She married her high school sweetheart, Daniel, and they have a 2-year-old son Jacob. Currently she is the assistant vice president and branch manager of Wells Fargo Bank in Goleta.

She joined the WEV board due to her strong belief in small business and her aspirations of being a small-business owner herself. Through her parents’ small-business ventures and work experience at the Santa Barbara Roasting Co., Tuason-Angel saw firsthand that hard work and dedication leads to the path of the American Dream.

Zdena Jiroutova

Jiroutova is the co-founder and director of Z Folio Gallery, one of California’s leading retailers of fine American and international designer jewelry, glass art and photography. Established in Solvang in 2006 and having created a strong community of more than 100 established artists, she continues to reach out to new collectors by opening a second location on Cannery Row in Monterey in 2008.

She is currently developing a state-of-the-art e-commerce website that will be a leader in the art glass and jewelry industry. Active collaboration with Czech glass artists and Bohemia’s 700-year tradition of fine glass and crystal connects her to her heritage.

Zhena Muzyka

As one of the early pioneers of the organic and fair trade movement and the founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, Muzyka believed that by selling tins of tea she could become a purveyor of hope and a conduit for change.

Zhena’s 2000 vision is now her mission, as she oversees an award-winning company that doesn’t just market products, it markets more than 70 varieties of teas with a commitment to social responsibility, sustainability and the well-being of others.

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea is a community minded and pro-active company. Dedicated to building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships that create opportunities to alleviate poverty, Zhena’s Gypsy Tea delivers exquisite teas with unique, healthy attributes that please the palate and delight the senses. The company works directly with small growers and out-of-the-way tea gardens and also affects change by empowering workers through the paying of a pro-active premium which provides and supports fair wages and added benefits such as better housing, health care and a sustainable environment.

In order to provide these benefits, Zhena’s premium is up to 10 times more than conventional prices paid by many tea companies. The workers in Zhena’s gardens benefit from guaranteed health insurance, education, safe working conditions and no child labor.

Kelly Marsh

Marsh is the branch manager of Broadview Mortgage in Santa Barbara. She has more than 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry and has closed about 4,000 loans totaling more than $1 billion.

Born and raised in the community that she now serves, she is committed to helping her clients navigate through the most complex financial transaction, a home mortgage. With the support and resources of Broadview Mortgage, a direct lender established in 1988, Marsh is able to offer specialized programs to her clients, including conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA and many more.

She has helped homeowners through her broad range of expertise and financial knowledge, which includes financial market and interest rate analysis, cash flow and debt analysis, real estate equity management, real estate investment planning and mortgage and real estate taxation concepts. She applies these real estate investment strategies when analyzing a client’s mortgage, debt and home equity strategy into their overall financial plan.

Geoffrey Eich

Eich is executive director at Amgen Inc., where he leads an experienced and highly cross-functional team dedicated to the topics of biosimilars (biological medicines claiming similarity to an approved product).

Eich is accountable for aspects of Amgen’s strategic planning related to biosimilars and integreating U.S. policy, regulatory, communications and business activities. He joined Amgen in 2007, and his leadership roles have afforded the opportunity to work alongside many business functions including government affairs, manufacturing and quality, commercial operations and law.

He is married with two children.

Denny Cooper

Cooper is the owner of Santa Barbara Credit Solutions. A locally operated company that helps clients restore their credit and educates them about the proper use of credit. Opened in 2008, SBCS provides strategic credit solutions to clients in all 50 states.

Before establishing the company, she was president and founding partner at Media West, an advertising and direct response agency that specialized in television programming, television advertising and Home Shopping Network placement.

Cooper holds a California real estate license, is the past president and current member of City Orators Toastmasters and serves as director of The Jennings House, a women’s sober living home.

A Santa Barbara local, Cooper splits her time between Santa Barbara and Honolulu.

Women’s Economic Ventures offers a continuum of programs to help women successfully start-up, launch, build and sustain their own businesses. Click here for more information.

— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing Women’s Economic Ventures.

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